FEAD warns against any changes in the Waste Framework Directive that go beyond the targeted revision proposed by the European Commission
Brussels, 26 October 2023 – The European Parliament’s environment committee published at the end of September its draft report on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council amending Directive 2008/98/EC on waste, commonly known as the Waste Framework Directive (WFD). This comes after last July the European Commission published a targeted proposal to revise the WFD to ensure environmental sustainability of the textiles and food sectors.
These two sectors are the first and the fourth most resource intensive sectors respectively and have not yet fully adhered to the EU waste management hierarchy, which requires the prioritisation of waste prevention followed by preparation for re-use and recycling. Therefore, FEAD already welcomed the EU Strategy for Sustainable and Circular Textiles in April 2022 as part of a package to make sustainable products the norm in the EU.
FEAD strongly supports the mandatory separate collection of textile waste from 2025 to stimulate recycling, move up the waste hierarchy for textile waste and reduce cross contamination by other waste streams. Textile is a waste stream that needs special treatment to enable sorting and recycling and that requires huge investments in treatment capacities. Between 6 and 7 billion euros of investment have been estimated by McKinsey to be needed by 2030 to create the scale of textile waste processing and recycling that the EU is aiming for. To this end, FEAD has supported the creation of EPR schemes for textiles from households to incentivise the needed investments, and which has been included in the Commission’s proposal to revise the WFD. Therefore, completing the WFD revision is essential to ensure the EPR implementation and to stimulate better sorting for reuse and recycling across the EU.
However, the European Parliament has taken the opportunity of this revision to propose amendments to other parts of the WFD not related to textiles nor food waste. Especially problematic is the proposal to change the recycling definition to include fuel production, not only from waste. Such proposal is highly unclear and can put in danger all currently ongoing investments in recycling capacities and technologies. The initiative comes at the end of the current mandate of the Parliament and the Commission, with very limited time to reach agreements.
For these reasons, FEAD considers that the scope of the revision must adapt to the available time and warns against any changes in the WFD that go beyond the targeted revision proposed by the Commission. Opening any discussions on the overall WFD provisions will hamper reaching any agreement at all, with which we risk putting the initiative on hold until the new Commission and Parliament are established after the upcoming elections in June 2024.
Claudia Mensi, FEAD President said:
“If we want to finish the ‘small’ revision of the Waste Framework Directive still in this mandate, we will need to work hard to find compromises. As FEAD we are fully committed to make the circular economy work for textiles, but if we start looking at other provisions of the Directive, we are diluting the focus that the Commission has put on textiles and food waste. We cannot forget that these waste flows have been chosen because they represent top resource intensive sectors causing significant negative environmental externalities, where financing and technological gaps have impeded progress towards the transition to a circular economy and decarbonisation. Let’s work together to progress in these two sectors and leave the broader revision of the WFD to the new mandate after the European elections in 2024!”
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FEAD is the European Waste Management Association, representing the private waste and resource management industry across Europe, including 19 national waste management federations and 3,000 waste management companies. Private waste management companies operate in 60% of municipal waste markets in Europe and in 75% of industrial and commercial waste. This means more than 320,000 local jobs, fuelling €5 billion of investments into the economy every year. For more information, please contact: email@example.com.